Duck Duck Book


35 – brick
07.17.2006, 2:51 pm
Filed under: events, films

Brick [film] / Bergman Lustig Productions ; written and directed by Rian Johnson.
Universal City, CA : Focus Features, 2005.
[Multnomah County Library does not have this film, but for you Portlanders, it is currently playing at the Laurelhurst and St. John’s Pub Theaters]

Brick is a murder mystery simultaneously in the old school and in the dark underbelly of modern-day America; it’s like film noir goes to high school. Brendan, the protagonist and detective, is sort of like an 11th grade Philip Marlowe — he definitely has a plan of action to get from the dead body to an understanding of what went down and how it fits into everything else, but he plays his cards close to his chest (even if you’re on the other side of the film’s fourth wall), is willing to get the shit kicked out of him any time it’s a shortcut to information, and he is absolutely rock solid about who’s side he is on.

To say that Brick is like a high school noir makes it sound like it must be completely ironic, if only to avoid being ridiculous. But Brick is not ironic, on the whole, and it damned sure isn’t ridiculous. The same story could have been written, directed, designed, or acted differently to make it tongue-in-cheek, but the electricity of the film as it has been made is largely that it is straight up, no chaser.

See Brick while it’s still on the large screen. You will probably need a stiff drink, a massage, or a hot bath afterwards from 90 minutes of plot tension, obscure teenager slang, and unrelenting workaday violence and anguish, but I do not think the movie would be as, well, as big, on the smaller screen. And if nothing else, noir should be big. It hurts more that way.

N.b.: Despite the fact that I recommend you see Brick in a theater, it has been released on dvd:

Brick / by Rian Johnson; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Lukas Haas; Emilie De Ravin; Focus Features.; Universal Pictures.
Universal City, CA : Focus Features : Distributed by Universal Pictures, 2006.

[thanks, Kristian]

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